A week for reflection?
For week eight of The Great Wake Up, our challenge was a(nother) week of reflection. I thought I liked reflection...
Week eight - nearly two months in - and the idea this week was to reflect on what the experiment has meant to us. So I reflected - for about ten seconds - and decided what I wanted was another challenge. Yes, I am probably a bit driven, and more than a little bit naughty, so I invented a challenge for myself. (Sorry, Chris...)
A while back, Psychologies introduced me to character strengths (here's a link in case you're interested) and the idea of playing to my strengths instead of beating myself up about all of my 'needs improvements'. (Is it just me who only ever paid attention to that part of the annual performance review?) I took the test, found out my strengths and then didn't quite get around to thinking about what to do with them for a while until I recently got an e-mail about a strengths challenge.
This sounded really cool - spending a week applying a structured approach to develop a habit of using one of your strengths. And it was only 12 minutes a day, so I was in! I went through the pre-work, designed my strengths habit and then spent a week doing it, with really fab results (well, other than it took a bit more than 12 minutes because I was having so much fun each day). But that wasn't my made up challenge...
My made-up challenge came about when I came to the end of the strengths challenge and got Chris's note about another week of reflection. Well, I was on a trying new things high, so that was not what I wanted to hear. So I decided to do another strengths challenge - with a twist... I figured it would be interesting to apply the same approach for one of my weaker areas as I'd tried for my strengths for the week. And the winning weakness was... gratitude.
This is a bit sad, because I actually have a lot in my life to be grateful for, but I don't actually take much time to appreciate it because my focus is always on the next challenge or thing to improve. So, following the guidance on the strengths website, my "no, I won't reflect, I want to DO something challenge was born". Each evening for the week, as part of our how the day went conversation, both my husband and I had to think of two good things that happened to us. (This is a big departure for a couple who met at work and bonded over politics, problem-solving and damage assessments...)
And, boy oh boy, I am so glad I was naughty! It's been so much fun coming up with good things that happen every day to share (the first challenge being how to get over being coolly ironic) and we've had more laughs in our evening conversations. Our catch-ups are always interesting but usually, shall we say, intense and serious. It's been a nice change to laugh - and I am grateful!